Author Archive

Aug
28
1996 Acura SLX

Anxious to exploit the exploding consumer interest in SUVs, Acura tapped Isuzu for a version of that maker’s Trooper. The SLX became Acura’s first truck.

Fact: Japanese automobile manufacturers were just as willing as American makers to build fuel-thirsty trucks, they just weren’t as good at selling them. Had early versions of the Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota 4Runner sold nearly as well as the Ford Explorer, history might recall said companies less as the “green” good guys they came to be considered.

Aug
27
XXX

At $26,500 including destination charge, the Peugeot 505 Turbo SW8 was the 4th most-expensive wagon available to American shoppers in 1990.

It is Consumer Guide managing editor Rick Cotta who first began noting vehicles that are turning 25 years of age, and thus becoming “classic.”

In Illinois, home to Consumer Guide Automotive© and Collectible Automobile magazine, a car is officially an antique when it crosses the quarter-century line.

Aug
25
UAZ 469

Sadly, the UAZ 469 “Hunter” is not among Russia’s five best-selling vehicles. In truth, this cold-war-era relic didn’t make the top 20. We’re using the classically tough-looking Hunter as our feature image because Russians vehicles just look so darn normal these days.

Serbians knew it as the Zastava Koral, we, for a brief moment in time, knew it as the Yugo GV. To no one’s surprise, a peoples’ car designed around then 20-year old Fiat technology built behind the Iron Curtain didn’t sell especially well in the United States. Mostly we pointed and laughed. For you youngsters out there, the Yugo was a really bad car import from what was then known as Yugoslavia for the 1984-1991 model years. They didn’t sell well.

Aug
21
1985 Pontiac Fiero, Hall and Oates.

Sometime between the height of their popularity and acquiescing to record a Christmas album, Hall and Oates take time to scuff the finish of a 1985 Pontiac Fiero.

It has taken a while, but demographers seemed to have coalesced around 1985 as the year dividing the people identified as Generation Y from those we’ve labeled Millennials.

Aug
20
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Are you inadvertently wasting gas? Here are 5 bad habits to break if you want to use less fuel.

We all know what we can do to save some gas. We know that we’re obliged to avoid jackrabbit starts, that we should travel at close to the posted speed limit, and that we’re committed to religiously checking the air pressure in our tires. Noted.

We’ve seen the list before. But, you ask, what else can we do? A better question might be, is there anything we should stop doing? The answer is yes. In fact, there are five things you can stop doing immediately in the name of improved fuel economy.

Aug
18
1989 Chevrolet Blazer

1989 Chevrolet Blazer

Fact: Nowhere in the 1989 edition of Consumer Guide: 4X4s, Pickups & Vans is the term “sport-utility vehicle” used. Let’s call this period in time the calm before the storm.

Aug
15
1973 Plymouth Cricket Wagon

At $2399, the Plymouth Cricket was the 4th least-expensive wagon of 1973.

Even at the low end of the market, station wagons were treated by makers as premium models in most model lineups. The Plymouth Cricket above, for example, listed for a cool $404 more than the sedan on which it was based. That’s a substantial 20-percent bump.

Aug
13
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Feeling pinched by your current car? You’re not alone. For some excellent new-car options, read on. (Image of enhanced-cabin Saturn Ion courtesy Consumer Guide Big & Tall)

The diet is going well, thanks for asking. But even when I hit my goal (weighing what I did when I got married), I still won’t be a slender man.

I am 6’ 1”, and at the moment weigh more than 350 pounds. The plan is for there to be at least 100 pounds less of me by this time next year. Wish me luck. Still, even at my target mass, I will be a big guy, which, I believe, qualifies me to speak on behalf of big guys everywhere.

Aug
12
2014 Lexus ES 300h (blue)

The hybrid 2014 Lexus ES 300h is EPA rated at 40 mpg in the city, and 39 on the highway. How did we do? Read on.

2014 Lexus ES 300h

Dates Tested: 4/28/2014-5/12/14

Miles Driven: 160

Fuel Used: 4.0 gallons

Driving Mix: 55% city, 45% highway

Aug
11
1972 Buick Estate Wagon

At $4678, the Buick Estate is only the 3rd-most-expensive wagon available in 1972.

We recently shared a blog post honoring the five most expensive cars of 1972. For folks with the budget, all five would have made fine rides back in the day. But, what if you couldn’t get by with a sedan, much less a huge coupe? What if your familial commitments meant committing to a vehicle with some extra space aft of the rear seats, or even another row or seats?

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